Images – Major factor of SEO – Use them Smartly
Just like the text on your website, visual content too must be optimized for your customers and search engines. Here, in this article, we will discuss image optimization tips that help in maximize their visibility and also increase the website speed.
How do you publish images to your website? Most probably you download them from stock photograph site, and then upload them to your website. You might be very happy to find a giant-sized quality image hoping that it will brighten your page appearance. But you are not absolutely right. By adding that image, you have added increased the weight of your website that slows your page load speed and search engine cannot read it without alt text. The fact is, without proper image optimization, you are only weakening your website’s SEO strengths.
Here are a few tips that are most important to ensure your images are optimized:
1. Choose the Right Format
Before you add images to your website make sure you have selected the best image file type. Though there are many image formats available, the JPEG and PNG are the most preferred for the websites.
JPEG: Quality might get affected, but it can be managed to provide the required quality and maintain balance in the site.
PNG: Quality is better, but file sizes are larger.
Most people use JPEG over PNG for this reason. Whenever there is a requirement of a large image, people prefer JPEG. Some also use PNG wherever possible without affecting the website's overall weight.
2. Compress Your Images
Compressing images is a must before they are uploaded to websites. If you don’t do that, the search engine will look at your website in dismay.
As per HTTP Archive, images on an average constitute 21% of the total weight of a webpage. The reason image compression is highly recommended, before uploading to websites. Tools are Photoshop, TinyPNG, TingPNG (WordPress plugin) can be used for the purpose. WP Smush is another WordPress plugin that can be used. These tools can reduce the image file size without impacting their quality.
3. Create Unique Images
You will find too many websites with the same set of images popping all over their website. The same businessman smiling or the same people in a board room discussing something or something similar. Too many websites have these very common images. In this case, even though you have your image optimized before publishing it on your site, it may not be able to create an impact as an original image can for SEO benefits. Try to get original images (try clicking images for your website) as much as possible. More original the images, better would be the experience for your users, and more chances of ranking on relevant searches.
4. SEO-Friendly Alt Text
Alt texts are alternative text to images when the browser cannot retrieve or download them. It is used to describe the image files. When images do not load then the alt tag show within an image box, displaying in text what the image is about. Moreover, they are also seen on mouse hover on images when the images are showing. It is one of the major factors of on-page SEO strategy. Additionally, the other advantage of alt text is, search engines cannot read images, so these alt tags help search engines in reading the images, which is beneficial for search engine optimization.
Adding right alt tags to your images help your website in achieving better search engine ranking results by connecting images with keywords.
5. Add Image Gallery to Sitemap
Whether you add images to your main sitemap or create a separate one for images, your website images must be included somewhere in your sitemaps. It will increase the chances of search engines to crawl and index your images, helping an increase in traffic to the website. Many people enjoying seeing image galleries. So, it can definitely result in increased visibility of the site. If your site is developed on WordPress, Yoast plugin helps in sitemap creation.
From the above points, we have concluded that before uploading images to websites, it important to optimize them. Choosing the right file format, using alt texts, reducing file size, adding an image gallery to sitemaps, and trying to upload unique images as much as possible are some of the factors that are very effective in search engine image optimization.